Reposted from Medium

Editorial Note:  For weeks I have been cringing as numerous friends and colleagues have been fawning and swooning over Charles Eisenstein’s “Coronation” essay. Had I been able to clone myself and had 48 hours in the day instead of 24, I would have begun the task of doing what Jack Adam Weber has done here, but I’m really glad I didn’t even try. Jack has exceeded my wildest expectations of myself or of anyone in this regard. I’m deeply honored to publish this essay.

INTRODUCTION

The overarching aim of this critique is to demonstrate critical thinking skills that readers can apply to the slew of information and much disinformation around the pandemic and all other news topics. This way one avoids getting duped by gaslighting gurus, bogus scientists, fake news, and bad ideas.

Conspiracy theorists are usually easy to identify and easy to debunk. To his credit, Charles Eisenstein is an exception, which makes his rhetoric all the more insidious. He magically mesmerizes, couching his underlying agenda and beliefs (though repeatedly claiming to “not know” anything) in a panoply of pseudo-intellectual smoke and mirrors.

Eisenstein’s conspiratorial orientation is supported by what Matthew Remski reveals in his critique of “The Coronation”: Eisenstein is affiliated with Kelly Brogan, M.D., an outed Covid conspiracy theorist. Note, I purposely held off reading Remski’s critique until after forming my own ideas (immediate upon my first reading of “The Coronation”) to avoid confirmation bias.

“The Coronation” (hereafter “Coronation”) is a long, convoluted essay that, if you can get through it, doesn’t say very much. It in fact says too much that is misleading and ultimately little more than a fairy tale. I can only hope his book on climate change, pertaining to an even more serious crisis, is not in the same style as this “new story” for coronavirus. I have wondered too if Eisenstein gets a free pass because his name is similar to the great Dr. Albert Einstein, so that readers swallow Eisenstein’s bait on false trust.

The author covers and disguises his conspiracy tracks well, such as avoiding the common term “police state” for his invented, less alarming, but synonymous variation: “security state.” He is less obviously conspiratorial when he witch hunts fear (more on that later). On page 7 of the PDF version (all page numbers henceforth refer to the linked PDF), after a long list of government control “precedents” he says, “This is juicy material for conspiracy theories,” as if to make it seem impossible that Eisenstein’s essay itself is not conspiratorial. It’s akin to how Trump lies out in the open so you’d never think it was a lie, except our president does it much less cleverly.

The author attempts to minimize the pandemic, to denounce the “security state,” to discredit governmental health agencies, and to relax our healthy concern about coronavirus, as well as our genuine, grounded compassion — despite occasional lip service to the opposite. He achieves this through a series of disturbing logical fallacies (especially black or white polarizations), magical thinking and spiritual bypassing, faux-mysticism, false equivalencies, pseudoscience, New Age myths (polarizing fear and love, for example), dangerous conspiracy leanings (couched in ostensibly fascinating logic and leading rhetorical questions), and ultimately dangerous and disempowering fairy tales. Yes, dangerous, because that’s what fantasies, false security, and untruths ultimately deliver to adults in the face of crisis.

All of this is in relation to a coronavirus pandemic that deserves level-headed acumen and skeptical rigor. The author offers none of this. I’m upset and saddened that so many have drunk the Eisenstein Kool-Aid. I am upset by conspiracy theories, especially those covertly delivered, that hoodwink and derail us from the truth, because false information leads to suffering. And widely believed misinformation, such as that delivered by our president and Eisenstein in this essay, lead to great suffering. I’m upset and disappointed that anyone would take solace in “The Coronation,” that it has been widely praised, translated into many languages, and apparently traveled the globe — a virus in its own right. I want us to be in touch with reality together, for which I offer my small contribution in this essay.

Unsurprisingly, I first learned of Eisenstein’s essay on the Facebook Page of a couple friends who regularly get sloshed on conspiracy booze. The first six paragraphs of the essay were refreshing and, surprisingly, gave me hope for the rest. Unfortunately, it descended quickly into nonsense. In this review I will not address every paragraph or idea in “Coronation,” and I have not cherry-picked those I thought I thought I could easily debunk. In fact, each time I return to the essay I come across more I feel compelled to address, but alas, I’ve written enough, if not too much.

A pervasive element of “Coronation” is the leveraging of readers’ touchy-feely emotions to discredit and even to seed upset about necessary pandemic restraints we enact so others don’t suffer needlessly. A prime example of this is on page 2 where the author tells the story of his friend who hugged a sobbing woman at the grocery store who was overjoyed because she hadn’t been hugged in a ten days. This is a quick-fix feel-good story right out of the 6 o’clock news playbook. What if we found out that this 6-foot-space-violating friend caught the virus or transferred it to the crying woman; would it be such a wonderful story, or would we call his friend foolish?

Indeed, the reason we don’t hug strangers these days is not because we don’t care or don’t like hugging but because we care enough to restrain ourselves. We’re not childish, because we understand the stakes. I therefore read this grocery store incident as manipulation of readers’ common sense, vicariously playing to the emotions of hug-deprived readers, many of whom love to hug, as I do. It does harm by using an everyday example we have all likely been tempted by numerous times during lockdown. This heart-moving story serves to emotionally sell unsafe contact during a pandemic and to devalue social distancing. A primary reason we have fewer deaths and that Covid-19 isn’t more widespread is because of social distancing, not because we are soothing those who are crying by hugging them.

Another example of poor reasoning occurs on page 15 when the author attempts to illustrate a holistic approach to treating illness — what he calls “terrain theory” — with the metaphor of a fish tank. Since I am a holistic medical practitioner, I can especially speak to this issue. The author writes, “As one meme explains it: “Your fish is sick. Germ theory: isolate the fish. Terrain theory: clean the tank.” This is a reasonable approach but only if applied properly and not viewed in black or white terms.

In holistic practice, this dynamic is also an example of “root and branch” treatment strategy. If a disease process is acute and immediately life-threatening, one treats the branch before the root, especially because there usually isn’t time enough to treat the root (which takes longer) and still save the patient. In chronic cases, where death or serious consequences are not imminent, the root can be addressed. Most often, some of both approaches are used.

The author describes this terrain approach on the heels of discussing the underlying poor health of Americans, which is a root level treatment issue, and takes time to address (you don’t reverse years of poor diet and no exercise by doing good for a few days). On a macrocosmic level, Covid is an acute and immediately life-threatening disease threatening all humans. It’s not largely appropriate to focus treatment on “cleaning the tank.” It’s more appropriate to isolate the fish, in our case via social distancing and quarantining infected patients. The author has invoked a veritable medical metaphor inappropriately. More specifically, and integrally, it’s appropriate to do both during Covid: first and foremost we distance (germ theory wisdom) and simultaneously we work on our overall health (holistic medical wisdom).

CLOSET CONSPIRACIST

O n page 3, while discussing the increased control we are experiencing, which the author justifies to flatten the curve, he offers another conspiratorial passage, neatly couched and almost hidden. He does so by a sleight of logic and a leap of faith, an ever-present tactic to connect his bizarre ideas to a final fairy tale coronation. Eisenstein writes:

“Since the threat of infectious disease, like the threat of terrorism, never goes away, control measures can easily become permanent. If we were going in this direction anyway, the current justification must be part of a deeper impulse.”

Notice he uses inaccurate, misleading black or white terms to assert the threat of terrorism: it “never goes away.” In truth, terrorism and infectious disease threats ebb and flow to different degrees and, to pull a line from the author’s not-knowing ethos (which he introduces later for when it suits his needs to erode objective truth and healthy concern): he doesn’t know the degree of future threat for infection or terrorism. The author then delivers an idea which will become a fixture throughout the essay: the fear of permanent control measures as part of a “security state.” Yet, the real sleight of logic occurs when he writes, “the current justification must be part of a deeper impulse.” This “must” is a bold and suspect assertion for someone who claims he can’t really know anything about the pandemic. It’s also concerning because he doesn’t tell us what the “impulse” is, furthering the author’s unfounded certainty and conspiratorial undertones.

Eisenstein is saying that the current impulse of greater control measures must be related to — justified by, or due to — the deeper impulse for our “reflex for control” and our “war on death.” In the former section, the author claims that the Covid mortality rate is not as high as estimated. Presumably, this is another untruth to undermine the seriousness of the pandemic. In truth, the mortality rate is generally considered higher than reported. Here’s an excerpt from a NY Times piece to support this:

“As the virus spread across the world in late February and March, the projection circulated by infectious disease experts of how many infected people would die seemed plenty dire: around 1 percent, or 10 times the rate of a typical flu.

But according to various unofficial Covid-19 trackers that calculate the death rate by dividing total deaths by the number of known cases, about 6.4 percent of people infected with the virus have now died worldwide.”

This stat is further evidenced here, here, and here. Suffice to say, at the very least, there are conflicting reports about this.

An alleged thought leader should not be creating a field of relativism where every idea is just as true as the next, which also means everything is also equally false. This is sloppy thinking and dangerous. Rather, he could be clearly delineating objective from subjective truth. Because he conflates the two and makes all knowing essentially equal, if not indeterminable — a kind of intellectual castration into relative truths — he promotes non-critical thinking. Donald Trump does the same thing, though, again, less carefully and more blatantly. For this reason, we need our libertarian, “independent” thought leaders to be more epistemologically assiduous (epistemology is essentially the study of how we know what we know). Eisenstein renders unwitting readers more apathetic and deluded, if not brainwashed.

FAUX NOT-KNOWING

The author reminds us constantly that he, and the reader, doesn’t know anything. It makes me nervous when someone repeatedly asserts such alleged humility — ironically, as if they know it to be true. This hypocritical habit is captured in the author’s statement on page 4:

“Let me repeat: no one knows what is really happening, including me.”

Notice how knowing he is of not only his, but also your, not-knowing. He continues:

“In the face of the uncertainty, I’d like to make a prediction: The crisis will play out so that we never will know.”

More certainty about not-knowing, not projected into the future.

In similar faux-mysticism and false humility style, Eisenstein goes on to make many assertions throughout the essay, quoting charlatan know-it-alls and all the while constantly reminding (trying to convince us) us he nor you knows what is going on. Did the gaslighting work?

If the author doesn’t know what is happening, how does he know what is going on with his readers? He doesn’t, and he is apparently just as clueless about his self-contradictions. It is an attempt to brainwash. Further along on page 4 he reminds us: “What is going on here? Again, I don’t know, and neither do you.” . . . as he again proceeds to tell us what is going on, if only by the dozens of leading questions he asks. This practice is dishonest and manipulative and creates a relativistic playing field of no-truths via the faux position of not-knowing. It’s akin to the kind of devaluation of truth that Trump attempts and, unfortunately, at which he succeeds. Please be wary of being convinced you don’t know anything. At the same time, be reasonably skeptical of what you think you know.

Genuine not-knowing is a sacred mind state, especially championed by Buddhism and Zen, and even modern science (which is, ideally, constantly evolving and correcting itself). By using not-knowing to gaslight and feign humility, the author corrupts the wisdom of this important mind-body tool for genuine inquiry and learning. It disparages our innocence and vulnerability. Genuine not-knowing helps us abide in the void and to practice distress tolerance, which helps us check our anxious penchant to “do something” before we acquire the wisdom to act with integrity and genuine compassion.

On page 8, the author again reminds us:

“I have my opinions, but if there is one thing I have learned through the course of this emergency is that I don’t really know what is happening.”

Carrying on from Eisenstein’s last unknowing claim, which I include again for context here, at the bottom of page 8 he continues:

“I have my opinions, but if there is one thing I have learned through the course of this emergency is that I don’t really know what is happening. I don’t see how anyone can, amidst the seething farrago of news, fake news, rumors, suppressed information, conspiracy theories, propaganda, and politicized narratives that fill the Internet.”

Unfortunately, the author’s essay is part and parcel of the “seething farrago” of fake news and conspiracy theories. Here he again presents his pseudo-mysticism and false humility to argue that we can’t really know anything about the pandemic. And he gaslights the reader again with: “I don’t see how anyone can.” He weaves a conspiracy theory of “not-knowing,” which he is quite sure about.

We in fact know lots about the pandemic. At the very least, we know we are spreading a virus around the globe that is wreaking havoc on almost every aspect of our lives, many are dying and suffering, and Covid-19 is more infectious than the flu. The chances that these data are false is very, very, very slim. We also know that Covid-19 infection often induces fever, upper and lower respiratory complications, and that asymptomatic carriers exist, etc. All of this was known at the time the author’s essay was published.

If you (or the author) had to bet your life on knowing something, I imagine you would. I imagine that if I challenged you to drive your car off the high cliff, you know you probably wouldn’t live to tell about it, and that you would express your knowing by turning me down. Similarly, if I challenged you to sit in a closed room with eight Covid-19 patients, I imagine you (and the author) would suddenly know some things, maybe even a lot of things, and express this knowing via your actions to protect yourself. That fact that you are reading this essay on a digital device shows your faith in science for the known and implemented physics that make doing so possible.

In his drive to falsely level the epistemological playing field, Eisenstein creates a false equivalency of ideas, rendering all information and ideas to be equally nebulous. This kind of epistemological relativism — in essence: all forms of knowing are equal because we can’t know anything — isn’t genuine not-knowing because it doesn’t address the genuine mysteries of the universe and ascribes alleged agnosticism medical science and self-evident truths about the virus and the pandemic. This is dishonest and again serves to unrealistically assuage fear and disavow what we do know. It promotes an anti-scientific worldview. The author errantly flattens the knowledge curve (precisely what we don’t need to flatten the pandemic curve) and eviscerates genuine intellectual inquiry and critical thinking by making categorical epistemology errors.

FEAR OF DEATH

Page 8 introduces “The War on Death.” Ironically, in this section the author demonstrates an ignorance about our fear of death: that it is unavoidable and that some of our “neurotic” or avoidable fear of death can be worked with. The author lashes out against fear throughout the essay, yet he demonstrates unskillfulness in what is reasonable fear (fear of death, for example) and what is more aptly a conspiratorial fear (the fear of a permanent security/police state, for example). And, yes, we should be concerned about devolving into a police state, but at the early stages of pandemic, this is more reasonably a concern, not a full-blown conspiratorial fear. In this section, I will quote and italicize the author’s writing and follow with my comments.

The author opens:

“My 7-year-old son hasn’t seen or played with another child for two weeks. Millions of others are in the same boat. Most would agree that a month without social interaction for all those children is a reasonable sacrifice to save a million lives. But how about to save 100,000 lives? And what if the sacrifice is not for a month but for a year? Five years? Different people will have different opinions on that, according to their underlying values.”

The author introduces this section comparing the inability of his child, and children generally, to play with peers. His rhetorical questions reveal his bias. Instead of asking if it’s ultimately right to prevent children from playing in order to save thousands of lives, why doesn’t the author ask the reciprocal question for us to ponder, such as: “Is it privileged and short-sighted for those of us who want our children to play while millions suffer? Most would argue it is — a small and temporary sacrifice for children on behalf of their peers and elders. At what point do we accept that hard times are here and we can’t keep our children immune from the realities of life and the more likely new normal they are inheriting?” I propose the answer is that his leanings are cleverly couched in the questions he chooses to present and those he chooses not to. Those he chooses serve to diminish the severity of the pandemic, rail against all forms of control and safety, and instill excessive fear about a police state.

I understand that social distancing is a sacrifice (sharing etymology with “sacred”) that the author and his child, and all of us, are asked to make. Children, and adults, for millennia have gone through hard times and have made sacrifices. And if we want children to have freedom to develop “self-reliance and good judgment,” (advocated verbatim further along by the author), it follows that they should also experience the freedom of discovering the consequences and facts of life (especially if it saves others from arguably worse suffering). Following the author’s support of “self-reliance and good judgment,” this would be not just a sacrifice but ultimately helpful for children.

The author continues:

“Let’s replace the foregoing questions with something more personal . . . The relevant question for me is, Would I ask all the nation’s children to forego play for a season, if it would reduce my mother’s risk of dying, or for that matter, my own risk? Or I might ask, Would I decree the end of human hugging and handshakes, if it would save my own life? . . . . What is the right way to live? What is the right way to die?”

Here we are met with another slew of hypothetical questions that don’t really land back to Earth, although the author tries to make them very personal. The fact that he doesn’t answer these ostensibly “personal” questions alerts me to the possibility — and in context of the rest of his dialogue, the likelihood — that they are more emotional manipulation to tug on readers’ heart strings while a conspiracy message is slipped in via the very bias of the questions themselves. It reminds me of how Congress tries to pass egregious bills on holidays, or when we are otherwise distracted.

If the author wanted to make these questions poignant and meaningful, he could actually answer and discuss them. They are also unrealistic because stopping the world’s handshaking and hugging does not correlate with saving one life. In this pandemic, or any for that matter, it’s never a question of considering oneself as the only one affected; it’s always a collective consideration.

“The answer to such questions, whether asked on behalf of oneself or on behalf of society at large, depends on how we hold death and how much we value play, touch, and togetherness, along with civil liberties and personal freedom. There is no easy formula to balance these values.”

This seems a fair inquiry at face value. But it’s just a concept, another idea that doesn’t land in tangible everyday reality. And it contains these loaded touchy-feely allusions. Nor does author define how he holds death, either personally or collectively with others. He doesn’t make this sweeping generalization pertinent to what we are living through now.

During a pandemic, it’s natural that we might lodge all manner of complaint and upset about our “freedoms” being curtailed. Yet such reduction in freedom is no different than the loss of freedom we feel if we break a leg or come down with the flu — we become limited, plain and simple, and the sooner we accept this, paradoxically, the more freedom we will have. And the more we sacrifice some freedom for safety, the more freedom we will have because we will be less likely to be incapacitated or dying from Covid-19.

“Over my lifetime I’ve seen society place more and more emphasis on safety, security, and risk reduction. It has especially impacted childhood: as a young boy, it was normal for us to roam a mile from home unsupervised — behavior that would earn parents a visit from Child Protective Services today.”

Notice: here is more attack on safety and security using emotionally-laced context of the good ole freedom days of yore during childhood. It’s akin to glorifying the “freedom” days of not wearing seatbelts once ago . . . when the death rate from not doing so was 5 times what it is today.

Yes, I also roamed this way as a child. Times change. Roaming parameters have presumably changed not because of some nefarious conspiracy theory on the part of Child Services and government but because we live in a different world today than 40 years ago, with real threats. The author again draws an unrealistic and inaccurate parallel between past and present, sweetened with the nostalgia of childhood and the good ole days, continuing to couch his beliefs in an unwritten subtext which message the reader infers, and sides with, as the opposite of what Eisenstein pejoratively describes.

Next up is a laundry list of the author’s pet peeves:

“It also manifests in the form of latex gloves for more and more professions; hand sanitizer everywhere; locked, guarded, and surveilled school buildings; intensified airport and border security; heightened awareness of legal liability and liability insurance; metal detectors and searches before entering many sports arenas and public buildings, and so on. Writ large, it takes the form of the security state.”

Here Eisenstein reveals more overtly his underlying agenda and insinuation: the conspiracy theory of a security or police state. He suggests that modern safeguards are not actually for our safety but part of a security state agenda. The obvious and practical purpose of these measures being to reduce harm is ignored for an unevidenced, conspiracy conclusion. “Hand sanitizer everywhere” and “locked and surveilled school buildings” and “searches” for public events are for good reason, to save lives and avoid unnecessary grief.

This also seems a pretty heavy mischaracterization and disavowing of prudent safety measures for someone who repeatedly claims not to know anything about the pandemic and advocates for compassion. Of course corruption of power exists, but to indiscriminately and wholesale assign duplicity to precaution and public health by shooting the messenger (the “security state”) is to seed emotional rather than critical thinking. Writ large, it is poor reasoning, unfairly disparaging, and conspiratorial.

Let’s consider a more realistic probability, if not a self-evident one: we live with increased safeguards because the world is now a different place than it was during the author’s youth. 9–11 happened. Terrorism happens, school shootings also happen. Latex gloves, when used appropriately, reduce contracting and spreading disease agents. Isn’t this common sense, just as explaining that we socially distance to not spread disease, and to buy time to figure out what to do next in this novel pandemic shock-wave?

The author continues:

“The mantra “safety first” comes from a value system that makes survival top priority, and that depreciates other values like fun, adventure, play, and the challenging of limits.”

No, the mantra “safety first” doesn’t come from a value system that deprecates fun, adventure, and play. And yes, survival is top priority in life and death situations like a pandemic, as there is no chance for fun when you’re sick in bed or dead.

This sounds like the proclamation of an entitled, spoiled child. Many would in fact argue the opposite: that our culture excessively values fun, adventure, and the challenging of limits such as how much pollution we can spew into the atmosphere before climate crisis and the threat of human extinction are irreversible. We in fact could stand to be more grounded, less hedonistic, and less childish. During a life-threatening pandemic it’s plainly irresponsible to make such conspiratorial suggestions to readers. It’s also committing the cardinal sin of . . . knowing something.

Also notice the false dichotomy — another inaccurate, unintegrated, black or white distinction — this time between survival and having fun/challenging limits. In reality, safety and adventure co-exist, and this is especially important for children. We don’t have safety measures simply to survive and to prevent against death; we also have them to promote wellbeing.

Any responsible, caring parent knows that children need to feel safe and they rely on adults for this and to teach them boundaries that safeguard their lives and wellness — so they can be carefree, have fun and not seriously injure themselves. Safety measures allow children to adventure and challenge limits within an environment that also protects them — an integration of control and freedom, the opposite of black or white, binary thinking.

“Other cultures had different priorities. For instance, many traditional and indigenous cultures are much less protective of children . . . They allow them risks and responsibilities that would seem insane to most modern people, believing that this is necessary for children to develop self-reliance and good judgment.”

This is comparing cultural apples and oranges. It seems an assumption that “other cultures” (which ones?) had different priorities; how does one know this? If one doesn’t twist reasonable control measures in our culture to be a conspiracy, but instead just prudently smart (like wearing seatbelts), then one would not assume that our culture doesn’t also share the value of having fun and being adventurous.

Also, it’s inaccurate and unwise to compare cultural norms in isolation, without considering the whole culture (another logic error). For one, it’s possible that “other cultures” were more ignorant in some ways than we are today. Second, a traditional culture allowing their children to roam freely is not “insane” if we consider, for example, the holistic context of the traditional culture: for example, they might have more eyes on that child due to a more interconnected community network, or the design of the play area is inherently safer than modern ones, or the absence of child molesters and kidnappers in a small indigenous community. The possibilities are endless between apples and oranges, and by default, we are left to wonder why the author sets up this false equivalency, save to push his agenda that during a pandemic “freedom” and play should be prioritized, and safety devalued, even if it means other less privileged people will suffer and die as a result.

“I think most modern people, especially younger people, retain some of this inherent willingness to sacrifice safety in order to live life fully.”

Notice the nostalgic reference to and heart-tug mention of “younger people” and “living fully.”

Since “Coronation” is about a pandemic, safety measures taken during a pandemic are not what we should be sacrificing to “live fully.” Doing so could in fact render us fully dead. Is it appropriate to throw safety measures under the bus because they get in the way of living fully and because they save lives during a viral pandemic? Between the lines I hear the author’s complaint of being restrained and his pre-existing issues with control, which he is inappropriately and irresponsibly venting as appropriate during a global infectious emergency. He is also pandering to his own and his audience’s emotionally-reasoned, free-spirited, non-critical thinking.

To “live fully” is a privilege and entitlement, and during a pandemic we don’t risk safety measures to “live fully.”

Disparaging pandemic safety measures by suggesting that younger people are less concerned about safety is illogical and categorically wrong. The broader context of the discussion assumes and glorifies indigenous cultures as inherently better or more sensible (in ways I think they are). This is patently false and the author engages logical fallacies to try to sell this notion.

Let’s also not forget the neocortical function of our brains that mediates rational decision-making isn’t fully developed in “younger people.” This is why some childhood impulses that endanger lives need to be held in check. This issue is biological as much as it is cultural. These are the same impulses the author suggests (again, couched in rhetoric) doing away with in the form of pandemic health safety measures. In sum: suggesting we should abide the free-spirited decisions of puerile, developing brains during an infectious pandemic is ludicrous.

“The surrounding culture, however, lobbies us relentlessly to live in fear and has constructed systems that embody fear.”

Enter the next phase of conspiracy theory and mischaracterization of being “lobbied relentlessly” to live in fear because we don’t choose to act like children and throw caution to the wind. Ironically, the author is lobbying you to fear fear, while simultaneously not appreciating the value of reasonable, unavoidable, and healthy fear during a pandemic (he makes a similar, false equivalency by demonizing the value of fear in his book Climate). Fearing fear is precisely what FDR cautioned about (“There is nothing to fear but fear itself . . .”). Again, we can view cultural fear less suspiciously and more realistically: precautions and controls for good reason that sometimes inadvertently go overboard. And is “surrounding culture” in contrast to an “inner culture,” like our intestinal flora?

I notice that our “surrounding culture” encourages us more live without enough responsibility and common sense, and it provides endless means to achieve this dumbed-down state. In ways, I wish we had more advertised, reasonable fear so we wouldn’t destroy the planet and one another so much. Fear alerts us to loss and thereby helps inform right action to preserve what we love. Instead, we seem to be carelessly and hubristically fearless as we destroy the foundations for our very survival, resources that the author himself values. He fails to appreciate the adaptive value of fear and instead demonizes it throughout his essay. There are real dangers in the world and we need fear for the ally it is, not to throw it out with bathwater of fearing fear itself. The author continues:

“In them, staying safe is overridingly important. Thus we have a medical system in which most decisions are based on calculations of risk, and in which the worst possible outcome, marking the physician’s ultimate failure, is death. Yet all the while, we know that death awaits us regardless. A life saved actually means a death postponed.”

Here the author furthers his unskillful thinking around death, if only because his logic is so nonsensical and binary. He posits that staying safe has led us to a medical system that wrongly tries to save lives; this simultaneously mischaracterizes and besmirches the valiant work of doctors to help people live when they don’t need to die. To be fair, some palliative care preserves life that is, arguably, not worth living, and should be midwifed unto dying well, because of our cultural fear of death. But characterizing physicians this way who are saving lives during a pandemic is careless, dismissive, inaccurate, and condescending.

Would the author make this argument to the hospital staff if he or his child (G-d forbid) were admitted for urgent care? Maybe he could reintroduce his “personal” reflections here and actually speak substantively to them. When he says, “A life saved means a death postponed,” this is also nonsensical. Of course death is postponed when we save a life, because we all will eventually die. It’s illogical that we should allow each other to die prematurely when a remedy is available, and that if we save someone from dying today, this is pointless because we are all bound to die one day anyway.

To extend this poor reasoning to an extreme (but certainly well within a logically reasonable extrapolation of Eisenstein’s illogic) we could argue that we should simply all kill ourselves now and not care for one another because “death awaits us all, regardless.” Hidden in this is nihilism: these is no point to living if we will all die one day. And who is “us” that the author says death waits for regardless? Does it apply equally to someone in his/her twenties, thirties, forties, or nineties? Should we try not to save any of these lives? And should we hold the value of budding youth as unimportantly as a nonagenarian during their last minutes of life? Again, we encounter the eradication of greys for black or white radicalization. Ironically, by denying the value and miracle of saving life (via the author’s championing an attempt to conquer all fear of death) the author disavows both life and a healthy aversion to death.

If you want a truly wise and scholarly presentation on the nature of dying and our fear of death, I suggest Dr. Sheldon Solomon’s sharing of Pulitzer Prize winning scientist and author Ernest Becker’s work on the denial of death. In this short clip (especially at minute 1:49) he describes how our fear of death is essentially hardwired in us. A fuller, and highly recommended, presentation is here. This biological reality of our fear of death is apparently lost on Eisenstein, who expounds a black or white view that a fear of death is simply to be avoided (as if it could be) and should be overcome (part of his fear-conquering mentality). Again, and to be fair, an aspect of our fear of death is often neurotic and we can mitigate it. But another facet of our fear of death is in us all since before we were born.

MORE IRONY: FEARING OUR FEAR OF DEATH

W e are living through a global pandemic; it’s natural that we might grow frustrated or afraid and begin to rebel against our “freedoms” being curtailed. Yet such reduction in freedom is no different than the loss of freedom we feel if we break a leg or come down with the flu — we become limited, plain and simple, and the sooner we accept this, the more freedom we will have. Ignoring such limits injures us more. Same during Covid.

On page 10, Mr. Eisenstein shares a brief story about the indigenous Q’ero in the context of flawed logic. Perhaps he is banking on the mesmerizing effect that mentioning anything about indigenous wisdom — and throw in a little shamanism to really deliver the bluff — trances readers into acceptance without thinking critically about the actual dynamics of what’s shared. This is similar to giving a little sugar to swallow bitter medicine. Giving indigenous ways implicit carte blanche authority (via his doctor friend) serves as the sugar — or to use another metaphor, a smoke screen — to disguise the logical fallacy of the story. He writes:

“I asked a friend, a medical doctor who has spent time with the Q’ero on Peru, whether the Q’ero would (if they could) intubate someone to prolong their life. “Of course not,” she said. “They would summon the shaman to help him die well.” “Dying well (which isn’t necessarily the same as dying painlessly) is not much in today’s medical vocabulary.”

The amount of deceptive sorcery in this small passage is mind-boggling. From the context and information we are given, we can infer that the Q’ero are not able to intubate someone to prolong their life because they have evolved without this technology. If the Q’ero were presented with a ventilator and shown how it works and what it can do, how do we, or Charles’s self-assured doctor friend, know what the Q’ero would choose? Many indigenous, after all, have gladly taken up use of plastic and metal, and all manner of modern technological products. Ironically, wondering what the Q’ero would choose in this instance is an appropriate instance to exercise not-knowing, yet the author chooses to go with the doctor’s sureness . . . even though the author both genuinely cannot know this to be true and has claimed to not know such things, or anything related to the pandemic.

Notice too how a “wow-factor” red herring is thrown in at the end to deliver the medicine to further emotionally sell the reader on the idea that respirators are a bad idea for someone who is dying: “Dying well (which isn’t necessarily the same as dying painlessly) is not much in today’s medical vocabulary.” Since the author’s demographic is largely enamored by anything indigenous and frowns upon Western medicine (and there are bona fide reasons for such discrepancies, but this, again, is not one of them), this is more sugar in case the previous sweetening-up didn’t get you to swallow the bullshit. Dying well and the issue of dying painlessly are distractions from the core logical fallacy (that the Q’ero would not want to use respirators), and just because the former may be true (“dying painlessly is not the same as dying well”) doesn’t mean the whole story, erm fairy tale, is.

The whole passage serves yet another underhanded and conspiratorial bent: by encouraging comfort with death (“dying well”), it feeds the author’s “impulse” to create nonchalance towards the pandemic. To actually bring the discussion home and ground it out, the author could ask and directly conclude (not just ask the question as he is want to do) what a family member of his would do when presented with the choice of a respirator. Would he be preaching “dying well” to them if their life could be saved with a ventilator? Would he be telling his son or wife, or himself, not to be afraid to die, or would be making a trip to the hospital to save the life? I think we can guess which would be more likely to occur.

A WAR ON FEAR

Another litany of questions is launched on page 11 that opens the section titled, “What World Shall We Live In?” The author asks:

“How much of life do we want to sacrifice at the altar of security? If it keeps us safer, do we want to live in a world where human beings never congregate? Do we want to wear masks in public all the time? Do we want to be medically examined every time we travel, if that will save some number of lives a year? Are we willing to accept the medicalization of life in general, handing over final sovereignty over our bodies to medical authorities (as selected by political ones)? Do we want every event to be a virtual event? How much are we willing to live in fear?”

Another barrage of similar rhetorical questions comes on the next page, beginning:

To reduce the risk of another pandemic, shall we choose to live . . . without hugs . . . high fives . . . no more classes, churches, [etc.]”

These questions bear the same mark as previous questions: to rouse an emphatic “no” in the reader (only a psychopath would answer yes, so the questions are essentially nonsensical, if not manipulative), antagonism towards healthy control, and to dismiss the gravity of the pandemic. Notice how the author demonizes security with the phrase “altar of security.” Why doesn’t he call it the “privilege” or “gift” of security (even imperfect as it is in our country), which how a non-conspiratorial conscience might characterize saving lives. Perhaps he is unaware of the chaos and suffering that occurs in other countries where government security and safety are not offered.

Then comes the fear-bomb (we knew it was coming): “How much are we willing to live in fear?” This is part of the author’s pervasive assault on fear. He uses the term “live in fear” three times in the essay (pages 9, 11, and 19) and rails against against fear throughout the essay. Yet, he never shares with us the value of fear.

Here the author furthers his set-up for the most popular myth among New Age tropes, which he delivers in full at the end of the essay: the alleged opposition and mutual exclusivity of fear and love (occurring on page 19 and again in the last line of his essay). He fails to acknowledge the importance and “natural” humanness of fear, and throughout dissuades us from it, as if we could stop feeling this hardwired, most basic emotion.

We will never be able to fully embody the myth that love is separate from fear, and do away fear. Nor should we, because fear and love are not opposites, just as anger and love are not mutually exclusive. Fear benefits our grounded care and love supports healthy fear, as I explore here. They indeed mutually support one another when skillfully worked with. This false opposition between fear and love is one of the many examples of binary, black or white thinking the author engages, furthering the inaccuracy of his message.

In another instance (page 19) the author writes,“The virus we face here is fear, whether it is fear of Covid-19, or fear of the totalitarian response to it, and this virus too has its terrain.” Again, the benefit and wisdom of fear is missed and fear is demonized in tandem with the conspiracy mischaracterization of a “totalitarian response” to a global medical crisis. He continues: “Fear, along with addiction, depression, and a host of physical ills, flourishes in a terrain of separation and trauma…” Notice how fear, an ultimately helpful emotion when worked with skillfully, is falsely paired with depression and physical illness — as if fear were a disease that we must overcome, when this is true only of unhelpful fear, such as experienced in PTSD. The insinuation is that if we heal our trauma and separation, we won’t feel fear. This is partly true, but does not address healthy fear that helps us avert trauma and peril, and which ultimately bolsters our courage.

APPEAL TO NATURE

O n page 13 in the section “Life is Community,” the author begins to share about our symbiosis with viruses. On page 19 he continues, sharing how viruses serve a valuable evolutionary purpose: “Viruses are integral to evolution, not just of humans but of all eukaryotes.” This begins his lead-up to final “Coronation” by framing our relationship with viruses as ultimately beneficial. Yet, he begins with another black-or-white fallacy in his attempt to laud viruses, which serves his overarching aims to minimize the pandemic and disparage the security measures and sacrifices we are making on behalf of saving lives. A fair and accurate statement by the author could read something like: “Despite our co-evolution with viruses — and bacteria and fungi, for that matter — this fact doesn’t mean much at the end of the day or when illness strikes. For, none of us chooses to merely succumb to illness because viruses are part of our evolutionary family.” This is more of the author’s manipulative dialogue and logic errors.

The author’s premise for what is ultimately to convince the reader to welcome the virus is a logical fallacy called an “appeal to nature,” which means that just because something is natural, it is good, or that it is better than what is allegedly unnatural. Consider, we have also evolved amid many poisonous plants and insects, and our fear of them is adaptive and helpful. We don’t embrace poison oak or a centipede in our bed because they are natural. Nor, for the same reason, do we ignore the proliferation of non-beneficial bacteria in our guts. Just like all ideas are not equal in value, not all organisms, including viruses, are equally helpful to us.

Again, we might drive home this logical fallacy and dangerous relativism by asking a pointed question to the author: If the author — or anyone he dearly loves — were sick with Covid-19, would he tell himself the sweet story that viruses have been with us since the beginning of time, or would he seek medical help? I imagine the author would quickly remember that certain viruses are not helpful, and at the least, one can’t really know if they are or not, so better to be on the safe side and save one’s life.

By minimizing the threat of the virus, albeit with flawed logic, the author gives false comfort and attempts to desensitize us. Notice how this coincidentally correlates with decreasing our fear, an enemy greater than the virus itself for the author. The author attempts to make the virus and the pandemic we are enduring less daunting, less a problem, less of a concern. In reality, this is a hubristic and arrogant insult to the many who are suffering from the illness and the battalion of medical workers on the front lines working overtime fighting for others’ lives while putting their own lives at great risk.

A VIROLOGY BLUNDER

O n page 19 the author writes, “Viruses can transfer DNA from organism to organism, sometimes inserting it into the germline (where it becomes heritable). Known as horizontal gene transfer, this is a primary mechanism of evolution, allowing life to evolve together much faster than is possible through random mutation. As Lynn Margulis once put it, we are our viruses.”

According to Virology Journal, “Horizontal gene transfer commonly occurs from cells to viruses but rarely occurs from viruses to their host cells, with the exception of retroviruses and some DNA viruses.” Coronavirus is neither a retrovirus (like HIV) nor a DNA-bearing virus (it has RNA). Even if coronavirus were an option and could insert its genetic material into our genome, there is zero evidence it would confer any benefit. And if we look to the SARS epidemic, caused by an RNA-virus that shares genetic similarity with the coronavirus, there is no evidence of any conferred benefit to humans (apart from the fact that it doesn’t mingle genetics with us).

The author continues to speculate if the “great diseases of civilization” have “quickened our biological and collective evolution.” I am not aware of an inadvertent advantage from polio, mumps, the black plague, smallpox, scarlet fever, dengue fever, and hundreds more miserable diseases. Humans are currently precipitating the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth — an overarching human-driven pandemic — for which humans are on the list of potential casualties.

So, no, the pandemic is not “just that” (a magical vaccine in disguise to immunize us against our own folly, page 20) because as far as I have learned RNA codes cannot spread “from human to human, imbuing us with new genetic information.”

Also don’t be fooled by the author’s out of context and uncited paraphrasing of Lynn Margolis that “we are our viruses.” The human genome is estimated to be about 8% of viral origin most of it from prehistoric origins. Some say it as low as 1%. And this is from DNA viruses, not RNA-bearing coronaviruses. What is more materially accurate is that we are largely bacteria, as the ratio is about 1.3:1 bacteria to human cells (and no, we are not 90% bacteria, that is another myth!).

FANTASY INITIATION

Eisenstein’s fantasy that coronavirus may be “bestowing” upon us beneficial traits via “key genetic information and offering both individual and collective initiation” (and there is no evidence that he means any of this metaphorically) belongs in the realm of science fiction. The story worsens as he imagines, or better fantasizes, about “esoteric codes” (what does this even mean?) that ride these “biological ones” that will disrupt our “narrative” (whatever this means in New Age speak I am not sure).

So, not only is it fantastic to be imbued with genetic information through a farcical initiation (I’m reminded of this Monty Python scene at 2:25, for a little humor break), but now the initiation will be carried out via esoteric codes, totally unidentified by the kind of science Eisenstein recently referenced and relied upon for his premise (which was also in error). This hocus-pocus leads us to another leap of faith and fantasy all its own: the “Coronation.”

Such disempowering spiritual bypassing is described in an essay by environmental microbiologist Dr. Siv Watkins:

“I have been told that humanity is the virus, and that SARS-CoV-2 is the vaccine, which is a particularly trite obscenity I’m getting really sick of hearing. To me, this smacks of a weak, ableist attempt to feign confusion and fear as spiritual depth.”

Eisenstein goes on to describe the Covid pandemic as following the “template of initiation,” which ultimately results, if successful, in “celebration.” Except the author hasn’t made a valid argument for such initiation, shared how to get through the heartbreak of it, except for citing pseudoscience, distracting us with red herring gene transfer dynamics, telling fairy tales, and playing word games. Only in one’s wildest imagination has he described a bona fide initiation.

Instead of “venture into speculative territory” (which is irresponsible at all, because the science the author cites to justify even a remote possibility for this is wrong), why not acknowledge the truth and what science and epidemiologists are actually telling us. You don’t need speculative not-knowing here because science and self-evident reality tell us what’s afoot.

In contrast to Eisenstein’s magical thinking, I prefer another passage from Dr. Watkins’s same essay. I appreciate his skillful, appropriate assignation of not-knowing regarding a particular dynamic of viruses (and the coronavirus in particular) and his echoing my sentiments of Eisenstein’s anthropocentric hubris and evolutionary biological guesswork:

“It has a role in an ancient, highly developed network of relationships around the world that humans will never understand. It is perfectly designed to do what it needs to be doing.

To suggest that this being has shown up in order to bring human beings back into a place of love is extraordinary arrogance and self-centeredness. It’s not here on your behalf, just like Juniper or Jaguar or Mount Diablo isn’t. This virus is here to be a virus, and it is not a gift — it is a serious threat. It arose due to completely normal and predictable evolutionary events. Scientists are not surprised that it is here. And, as I write this at the end of March, it is undeniable the damage that SARS-CoV-2 is causing and therefore we have a responsibility, as a global society, to do what we can to mitigate that. Luckily, we have scientists for that.”

“THE CORONATION” IS A FAIRY TALE

During times of upheaval, we crave comfort. This is why many of us are so easy manipulated during crises. Ironically, the author addresses the manipulative control that fearmongering can wield, yet he doles out fear of fear and fantastic sugar pills. The biggest spoonful of such nonsense is the end of the essay, the would-be “coronation” the reader has to trudge through the whole essay to have delivered. But instead of a rich reward, a cherry on top, it’s a farcical and bitter disillusionment.

After the pseudoscientific preamble of the coronavirus imbuing us with “new genetic information” and “esoteric codes,” the author throws out the wild possibility that we are being initiated into “a new coronation for all.” He writes, “Novel coronavirus pandemic” means “a new coronation for all.” What is his basis for this? Because “corona is a crown,” he explains. Ah, of course — I forgot my etymology! So, our coronation rests upon the magical thinking of a pun and the pun in turn is supported by the myth that an RNA virus can transfer genetic material to us and simultaneously infuse us with “esoteric codes.” How comforting. To boot, as Remski points out, in Eisenstein’s farewell coronation fable for this “novel coronavirus pandemic” he ignores the words “virus” and “pandemic” and sees only “corona” for his cheery ending.

If this pandemic is such a celebratory initiation with such tremendous potential benefit, why doesn’t the author rush out and contract the virus? Why doesn’t he send his child out to play with friends so he also can be coronated (please don’t), and so he can stop complaining about his son (and all children) not being able to play with friends and using this as a false platform to launch a dangerous fear of fear campaign?

Please tell this story of crowning glory to the hundreds of thousands of people who will die as a result of the pandemic, to those who have to break their backs in the fields to bring food to fantasy writers, to the family of the front line doctor who suicided herself, to those who are working overtime and exposing themselves to the virus and return home only to risk exposing their families, or to the elderly infirmed who wait “helpless and scared” in nursing homes waiting for the virus to come for them. This is privileged, arrogant condescension — the ironic result of dishonestly-spun and false optimism, fake initiation, and feigned compassion.

The story we tell ourselves and the stories we believe are important; they guide our actions today and our trajectory into the future.

“Coronation” is a story you’d tell a child before bed time, not to adults who need to wake up.

In truth, “Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface.” The pandemic may indeed bestow us with initiation and a coronation, but it will be the result of decades of hard, painful, honest, and dirty work in the trenches of our shadow, not by way of a magical spell and lullabies.

The author then goes on to say, “Already we can feel the power of who we might become” as a result of this “coronation.” He tries to pump us up by playing to our fear (appeal to emotion logical fallacy), and I believe attempts to exploit our vulnerability at this momentous, fragile time in human history.” The author builds upon this false superiority (because there is no coronation he has justified) by giving examples of a “true sovereign.” Please.

New Age overtones embellish the narrative by way of capitalizing “Reunion” and “New World Order.” The author also makes sure to include a little shadow jargon by explaining to us that a dominator and conqueror is a shadow trait of sovereignty as represented by the Tyrant archetype, just in case you were concerned for a second the author himself is expressing his own shadow by dominating or conquering your psyche by way of trance-weaving.

If you want to engender sovereignty, be honest and accurate. A true sovereign that respects others stays at home and takes care not to risk infecting others. A true sovereign is not a charlatan. A true sovereign does his research and doesn’t spread dangerous disinformation. A true sovereign doesn’t downplay a pandemic but empowers us to appreciate the fact and to skillfully navigate reality. A true sovereign embraces fear so he can be humbled and guided to right action. A true sovereign abides truth and good science; he offers and guides us through genuine transformation (not transcendent pandemic bypassing) and is not swayed by, or promote, pseudoscientific fairy tales and emotional manipulation.

THE LAST TWO SENTENCES

Eisenstein writes: “No longer the vassals of fear, we can bring order to the kingdom . . .” Vassals are feudal peasants. This is the last installation of fear of fear via a bloated, patriarchal sovereignty over ourselves (Goddess forbid, lest we succumb to the devil of fear!). He furthers this domination over feminine emotion (just what a shadowy Tyrant does) with more patriarchal terms, describing ourselves (and our bodies?) as a ‘kingdom.” He offers empty tyrannical hope, instilling false dominion over fear, which is often just what vulnerable readers in a state of fear want to hear to feel better quick (maybe the author is trying to quell his own fears?). Ultimately, this strategy is divisive and causes more suffering. Our current president and other dictators do the same.

The unfortunate result of this feel-good genetics fable of “Coronation” is that unwitting readers (like my friends who posted excerpts of this essay on their Facebook walls) begin to frame this pandemic as no big deal, that viruses are ultimately benign, and that we have nothing to fear. This follows the template of other Covid conspiracy theories whose end goal is to foster laxness and thwart safety restrictions such as social distancing and hand-washing hygiene and to lambast undeserving government personnel and hard-working health professionals.

In truth, if we want any kind of future we must ultimately reject this kind of pacifying snake oil. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has a more realistic appraisal of our situation, as he recently conveyed in his essay, “These are the Good Times — Compared to What’s Coming Next.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to go back to a time before the coronavirus pandemic. I believe that the coronavirus is going to trigger a decline unlike anything the country has seen since the Great Depression. That is why the business class and other ruling elites are panicking. It is why Trump, the corporate leaders, Republicans and others aligned with them are telling people to go back to work — but to wear masks — which may really not keep them 100% safe.”

CONCLUSION: AN HONEST WAY FORWARD

The closer we get to the abiding the truth, the closer we get to healing our problems. Honesty is the first step towards cure.

Most of us agree we need to transform our way of being on the planet, which necessarily means revolutionizing our personal lives and collective enterprises. We have raided the pantry of the planet for temporary feel-good while despoiling it. Ironically, “Coronation” continues us on this path of disconnect from reality and self-destruction for all the reasons mentioned.

Comprehensive, grass roots transformation doesn’t happen by transcending our problems and difficulties, especially those of our bodies where emotional transformation is needed. As I share in my new book Climate Cure, emotional transformation as a result of personal and collective trauma healing is at the heart of social, environmental, and political revolution — and crucial for both preventing and managing pandemics (via a series of clearly documented cause and effects). Our overarching climate crisis, of which Covid is part and parcel, is largely psychological, not material. In other words, we can make all the changes we need; we just resist them.

We don’t need a “new story” as much as we need to get on board with the truth and dynamics unfolding before our eyes and in our hearts. We need to embody this reality more than we rise above it in philosophical hypotheticals and fantastic escapes. Anyone who has healed through personal trauma knows that the bulk of healing these wounds includes a good dose of embodying and allowing ourselves to be with the pain and ugliness of any issue. And the way to prevent future trauma is to appreciate objective scientific truths and be connected to our bodies and senses to acknowledge the cues our innate intelligence is communicating to us about the problems we face — externally and especially internally. This approach first requires us to become aware of what’s true and process it both cognitively and emotionally. This is how we consecrate balance and wisdom, honoring both ourselves and the world around us, so we don’t cause undue suffering and exacerbate disasters, like extinction.

Eisenstein’s essay reads like pandemic bypassing by way of spiritual bypassing. It sounds like someone’s attempt to justify their own escape from fear during crisis. This is understandable, but if true, it’s not sustainable. In the moment that we have the opportunity to face our shadow and take radical responsibility to truly bring something new forward, we get “thought leaders” like Eisenstein who pull us out of the crucible and gaslight us with meta-nonsense. Instead, we need to persist in the belly of the beast, in the belly of Jonah’s whale, where we and our unsustainable habits can be digested and genuinely transformed into embodied, Earth-centered wisdom, nourishing compost, and true reverence in action for ourselves and the more beautiful world our hearts desire.

We are currently in the midst of collective trauma — Covid and Climate, among others. The way through is to abide the proverbial mud and wait in genuine unknowing for if a flower bud emerges from the grace and honor of owning our shit. To reach the throne of true kingdom and sovereignty (which is a most humble undertaking) we must valiantly descend into and be with pain and dystopia in order to release its gifts and clues for the way forward. Anyone who has healed through trauma knows this. Transcendent coronations don’t cut it and in fact sabotage our chances.

We have floated for far too long above our better selves. A witch hunt of fear is the floor on which this flimsy edifice of “Coronation” is erected and teeters in the toxic wind of desperate times in neoliberal America and beyond. We must face our fears, especially our fear of fear, with intellectual and emotional honesty. We would be wise to embrace our fear of death, not try to conquer it and believe ourselves vassals for doing so. We must also face our fear of grief, anger, hopelessness, and remorse so we aren’t propelled above our bodies by every form of distraction offered us. If anything, this is the true “lobbying of our fears” by the “surrounding culture” to which Eisenstein alludes.

A fear of difficult emotions leads to more lack of integrity as a failure to be changed by and to holistically integrate the crisis of the pandemic. It spawns more destruction, even if we think we are doing good, as Jung acknowledged once ago. The shadow we leave behind in the heart of our problems will always bleed through and ruin the party, as it is doing now via the crises we have precipitated and continue to scapegoat onto the natural world via greenhouse gases, natural disasters, pangolins, and viruses. This will exacerbate until we abide our darkness and leave behind shiny ideals and bogusstories. We have no time left for not radical honesty, which is why I speak out against dangerous teachings that disavow (in the name of love) what is sacred.

If you are unsure of the everyday nitty-gritty for how navigate this territory and enter initiation, I offer honest, embodied support in the Resources list below. These embodied, integral resources for critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and genuine empowerment to help clear recesses of unconscious bias and lack of integrity. Included is the work of psychologist Carolyn Baker who has been writing and helping others through the initiation of collapse for over a decade. Also included is my forthcoming book on how to comprehensively embody, work through, and leverage fear, grief, anger, anxiety, depression, and despair for grounded cure, as well as how to rebuild connection with yourself, others, and our dear Earth in the midst of crisis. And no, I did not write this critique to advertise my own work; the decision to offer readers a solution and better way, beyond the original critique, came later.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have gained some insights and cognitive tools to apply to other information, “experts,” and emotionally seductive material during this challenging (but not all that confusing) time when gleaning what is more likely true is crucial.

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RESOURCES

1) Carolyn Baker: Navigating the Coming Chaos: A Handbook for Inner Transition

2) Jack Adam Weber: Climate Cure: Heal Yourself to Heal the Planet

3) David Richo: When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage Our Relationships

4) Chris Hedges: The Only Solution to America’s Political Crisis